80 million-plus early voters sets U.S. election record

80 million-plus voters set U.S. early voting record
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner joins TSU students marching to the polls on day 1 of early voting

Defender News Service

According to a tally of national voters from the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida, more than 80 million Americans have cast ballots in the U.S. presidential election, setting the stage for the highest participation rate in over a century.

More than 58% of total 2016 turnout has already cast ballots during this record-breaking pace. Analysts say the increased turnout rate reflects intense interest by voters on both sides of the aisle in the outcome of the presidential race in which incumbent Donald Trump, a Republican, is up against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the former U.S. vice president.

Huge numbers of people have voted by mail or at early in-person polling sites amid concerns the coronavirus could spread at busy Election Day voting places exhibiting heightened interest in state and local races, as well.

Trump trails Biden in national opinion polls as most voters say they disapprove of the Trump administration’s handling of COVID-19, which has killed more than 227,000 people in the United States, with case numbers once again breaking daily records as Election Day nears on Tuesday.

Democrats hold a significant advantage in early voting due to their embrace of mail balloting, which Republicans have historically cast in large numbers but have shunned amid repeated and unsubstantiated attacks by Trump, who says the system is prone to widespread fraud though experts say data shows voter fraud in U.S. elections to be profoundly rare.

Experts have predicted turnout will easily surpass the 138 million who voted in the 2016 presidential election that Trump won. Only 47 million votes came before Election Day in 2016.

In 20 states that report party registration data, 18.2 million registered Democrats have already voted, compared with 11.5 million Republicans and 8.8 million with no party affiliation. The data does not show for whom the votes were cast.

-Reuters